As I began listening to Space in My Noggin, the latest full-length from the Dirty Dottys, I started to feel a little anxious. I started to feel this strange twitching in my glutes. I considered calling my doctor, but then I realized what the issue was. My booty was shaking.
You read that correctly. My booty was shaking. People who know me probably wouldn’t think of me as one who would typically shake my booty, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise that anyone would engage in butt-shaking while listening to the Dirty Dottys. After all, their bandcamp page describes their sound as “booty-shaking pop-motown.” Therefore, their music has performed its intention.
I must say, I hope the first couple paragraphs of this review didn’t deceive you. The eleven tracks on this delightful album are not just simple dance tracks. What we have here are eleven well-crafted pop songs with brilliant musical arrangements, PHENOMENAL vocals, and clever lyrics.
Stylistically, I would say the Dirty Dottys sound combines 70’s soul and funk with contemporary pop music. While I wouldn’t use the words “punk” or “ska” to describe their sound, there are moments where I suspected there might be a subtle ska-punk influence. This is mainly due to the interplay between the guitar and trombone; they do something I find typical of modern ska, which is, that while most of the guitar playing on the album functions as part of the rhythm section, the trombone plays most of the melodies. This is especially evident on tracks “Dragonfly”, “Your Furniture”, and “Cell Phone Ettiquette”.
The biggest hook of the album is definitely the vocal arrangement. Backup vocalists Ellie Foster and Maura McGillicuddy support lead vocalist Julie DiOrio’s incredibly wide ranging vocal style, which has both soul and guts (this is the first time I’ve ever distinguished between “soul” and “guts”; I suppose my distinction may not make sense, but listen to Julie DiOrio’s vocals and then tell me whether or not it made sense.)
Not only does DiOrio have amazing vocal talents, but she also writes some original and clever lyrics. “Your Furniture”, arguably the catchiest track, is also a lyrical delight as DiOrio croons about how our furniture “really misses” us when we go. Most of track is spent personifying various household items. The line that tickled me the most was probably “Were you aware that your favorite chair has a favorite too, it’s your derriere.” She also refers to her microwave as an “attention whore.”
“Cell Phone Etiquette” was another cleverly written song about a young woman who seems to have found the ideal romantic partner- except for one concern: the object of her affection is constantly staring at his cell phone. In between verses, Foster and McGillicuddy repeat the line “My eyes are up here”, a line commonly used to remind men to stop staring at a woman’s chest. In this case, however, the man is looking at his Facebook notifications. It’s unclear whether it’s intentional or not, but I am amused by the implication that a man staring at his social media notifications could boost his dopamine in the same way staring at certain female body parts could.
Overall, the Dirty Dottys deserve a lot of credit for being able to compose super fun pop songs while still possessing a high degree of musical merit, instrumentally and vocally. And just remember that any gluteal twitching is normal. – Dave Boz